Around 1900, David Riesz opened a hotel with a café and restaurant at 1 Széchenyi Street (formerly known as the Lower Street and having the Slovak name Sládkovičova ulica since 1919). The Riesz Hotel was Riesz’s own building and after he died, his wife sold it for 90,000 crowns in 1911. The new owner, Žigmund Herczka, lived in the hotel himself but kept the original name. Maximilán Karpáthy and his wife acquired the hotel in 1924. They changed its name to the Hotel Central and modernised it.
He renamed it Hotel Grand in 1928. With 35 rooms, it was the fourth largest of nine hotels in Žilina. The hotel continued to operate a café and restaurant as well. At that time the hotel’s standard rooms had such luxuries as central heating, an en-suite bathroom with hot and cold water and a telephone. The hotel had its own garage for guests and also offered a taxi service from the railway station. In the 1930s the hotel was famous for its Plzenská pivnica (Plzen beer cellar) bar and Biely Havran (White raven) cabaret. The cabaret variety shows at Hotel Grand earned it a reputation far and wide as an entertainment venue. The bar then situated in the hotel cellar was accessed by a side door on Kalinčiakova ulica so that revellers leaving the bar in the small hours of the morning would not disturb the hotel guests. The hotel had many guests in its history. For example, the 41st infantry regiment hosted a gala lunch for their patron President Edvard Beneš here in 1936. At lunch the president was served by one of Žilina’s most famous head waiters, Bedřich Tichánek.
In 1938 a half share of the ownership rights to the hotel was transferred to Karpáthy’s two daughters – Katarína Ádlerová and Magda Bašťovanská, the wife of a leading Slovak politician. From 1940 to 1945 the hotel was confiscated as Jewish property and kept in temporary state administration. In 1950 the hotel was nationalised and managed in a group with other Slovak hotels. In 1954 it was transferred to the Žilina restaurants organisation. In the 1970s Hotel Grand hosted nearly all the final-year balls for Žilina high school students, at which students performed their own sketches. People have fond memories of the ticket seller, who would also clean patrons’ shoes for a small fee before they entered the bar. At that time Air India had an office in the hotel. A large figure of the airline’s beturbaned mascot stood in the bar and there was a smaller one in the hotel reception too. Hotel Grand was privatised in the 1990s. It underwent extensive renovation in 2004. It offers guests accommodation, restaurant and café services polished through more than 100 years of operation. The three-star hotel currently has 41 rooms, two restaurants, a nightclub and a wellness centre.
Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský a Milan Novák
It can be visited
■ exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map: B4